The excitement of honouring former Hitman coach and general manager Kelly Kisio was short-lived after the home side let in a short-handed goal in the final minutes of the third period. The goal would end up being the game-winner as the Calgary Hitmen would end up losing a tough contest to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 3-2.
Before the game on Mar.1, the Calgary Hitmen honoured head coach and general manager Kelly Kisio for his accomplishments with the team. He received the ‘Forever a Hitmen’ honour with a banner that now hangs with Hitmen alumni and NHL veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd.
Kisio, now a scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, spent 18 years with the team including four as head coach. Kisio had a 0.639 winning percentage with the team as head coach and won two WHL titles with the organizations.
In an interview conducted by Hitmen TV, Kisio said it was great to see the players he had coached develop into better people.
“We treated our kids like they were adults and professionals, it was fun to watch them come in when they’re young from 16 to 17 and how they mature over the years following the structure,” said Kisio.
After Kisio’s banner was raised to the rafters, the game’s first-period action got underway with the Hurricanes making offensive attacks. At into the period 9:46 the Hurricanes scored by forward Chase Wheatcroft assisted by defenseman Ty Profontaine and forward Jett Jones.
In the second period the Hitmen started to gain scoring chances but could not get the puck past goaltender Carl Tetachuk. However, the Hurricanes had better luck in scoring,as Koletrane Wilson’s shot on the powerplay made the game 2-0.
In the third period the Hitmen’s first goal was scored by forward Orca Wiesblatt and assisted by forward Blake Allen and defenseman Luke Prokop. The game tying goal was scored by forward Riley Stotts assisted by forward Mark Kastelic and defenseman Jett Woo on the power play.
Only seconds after the Hitmen tied the game and on the powerplay, Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens led a rush shorthanded. Unable to score, Cozens retrieved the puck and passed it behind the net to Dino Kambietz who scored the game-winning goal 3-2.
Cozens credited his teammate, defenseman Danila Palivko, for shooting the puck off the boards to set up the play.
“Obviously you know to bounce back that quick after a goal is very important. So, we're happy we could do that,” said Cozens.
Calgary Hitmen Head coach Steve Hamilton felt disappointed with the team's powerplay performance that resulted in the Hurricanes victory.
“You shouldn't be giving up shorthanded goals right after you tie the hockey game and have a chance to go ahead with the power play but we did, and it's over,” said Hamilton.
The Calgary Hitmen will be on a three-game road trip until their next home game against the Spokane Chiefs on Mar. 7.
Calgary Hitmen forward and Captain Mark Kastelic skating to the action
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- By George Potter